Why do we love monsters? Why are we obsessed with vampires, zombies, werewolves, yetis and dragons? It's because no matter how frightening they are, they still symbolize the last bit of mystery and wonder in the world.
Well, we here at Cracked would like to murder a few of these mysteries right in front of your eyes, hopefully crushing your sense of wonder into a creamy pulp that tastes good on toast and buffs out scratches on linoleum.
Pictured: The Kappa, an ancient Japanese water-demon.
A pretty young girl in the prime of her life is frolicking with her female friends on a local beach, when a monster appears! It's a setup good enough kickoff half of the Friday the 13th movies, but these young sex-vixens weren't murdered in alphabetical order while the survivors grieve by stripping off their tops and offering to split up, because the so-called “monster” was already dead. The Montauk Monster washed up on Ditch Plains Beach in July of 2008, where the aforementioned girls found it, photographed it and sold the pictures to the local paper. Then the Internet got a hold of it and, as usual, shit got all blown out of proportion.
One of the most intriguing aspects of the Montauk Monster was its relative proximity to the Plum Island Animal Disease Center, located just a few miles away. It wasn't exactly a leap to believe that the corpse was some sort of freak experiment gone horribly awry that heartless executives dumped into the ocean rather than burned, because apparently they skipped Biohazard and Covert Experiment Disposal Day at the Evil Workshop. Some argued that it was a genetic abnormality, some stuck by the aforementioned lab experiment theory, while still others (read: us) suggested that it was simply Jabba's pet jerk-monster from Return of the Jedi.
Hey, being comedic relief for a mob boss food-monster probably has a high turnover rate--all those long hours, angry Jedi and notoriously poor health insurance plans offered by the Hutts probably take a toll on the little guys--it's not that bizarre to find a corpse or two.
Various reasonable theories were lobbed up, and promptly knocked down by animal experts. Lacking an immediate concrete solution, the world assumed it must be a new and undiscovered species. After all, wasn't it Sherlock Holmes who said, “When you eliminate the impossible, the remainder, no matter how improbable, is definitely a monster or at least some kind of magic.”?
It was a raccoon. Though initial arguments insisted that the legs were far too long, proportionally, to match with a raccoon's, actual experts went on record with dental patterns, correlating details on the front paws, and skeletal matches that all pointed to the Montauk Monster being nothing more than a decomposing raccoon carcass missing part of its upper jaw. When asked for clarification, scientists sarcastically asked, “What? You want us to draw you a picture?” Then, noting the slack-jawed, dimwitted stare from the audience, sighed with exasperation and did precisely that:
The Moscow Monster was supposedly discovered by Russian soldiers on a beach in Sakhalin, Russia. Sakhalin is actually 5,000 miles away from Moscow, but when pressed, most westerners can only name roughly three things about Russia anyway--vodka, communism and Moscow-- so we guess the name just stuck by default.
The Moscow Monster clearly came from the ocean, yet judging by the structure of the bones and teeth, wildlife experts say it's not a fish. It was also clearly not a reptile, as the only match in size would be a crocodile or alligator, which would not only fail to account for the location, but the skeleton is all wrong for that as well. Finally, Big Bird is still alive and teaching four-year-olds about the intrinsic value of “B,” so that pretty much does away with all immediately apparent options.
The corpse was estimated at roughly 20-feet in length, and covered in some bizarre shag material that was not feathers, fur or scales. Adding further intrigue to the mystery, it was reported that Russian Special Services were called in to take the carcass away in secrecy. So we've got government cover-ups in addition to possibly prehistoric beasts: It's the thing urban legends are made of.
It was a beluga whale. All that “it's not a fish, it's not a reptile and it don't got fur” speculation should've tipped you off to the answer: What's not a fish but lives in the water? A fucking whale. What's not feathers, fur, nor scales? Blubber. Whales are mammals, and their skeletal structures reflects that fact. If you're not familiar with whale physiology, you might see a live whale and assume that its skeleton is made up of a “bunch of round,” with some “flipper things” on the side. So when a corpse washes up on the beach with what looks like a serpentine tail, articulated hands and a beak, most can be forgiven for assuming it was an uRru tragically felled by the sinister Skeksis.
But experts took one quick look at the skeleton, and stated matter-of-factly that it was a beluga whale; there were no ifs, ands or buts - that's just what it was. When pressed for proof, they released a photo of a beluga skull alongside the Moscow Monster skull, then slapped their hands spastically against their chests and sarcastically went “dduuurrrr it a monsterrrrr hur hur.”
Because these particular theoretical scientists are total jerks.
Stunning video of a questionable and mysterious creature was recently released to CNN reporters who, ever the bastion of reliability and sober-minded journalism, aired the holy shit out of it while Anderson Cooper screamed “MONSTER!” at the top of his regal yet down-to-earth lungs. The video seemed to show a chupacabra, the legendary Mexican bloodsucking monster that's supposedly equal parts reptile and canine.
The video is relatively clear, mostly centered and fairly long, as these things go. Which is to say that it's not a blurry half-second glimpse of fuzzy gray pixels which could only be identified by calling in the world's foremost experts in Squinting Really Hard and Guessing Technology. Getting a video of this quality is practically unheard of, you can clearly see the beast in question, so what the hell is that thing?
The video was taken near a town called Cuero, Texas; a place which cheap t-shirts sold by off-season carnies insist is “the unofficial chupacabra capital of the world.” So clearly, the area has something to gain from stating that the tape shows a legendary monster in all its glory. Several other chupacabra sightings and even actual corpses have cropped up all across the county as well:
And, to a one, have all turned out to be coyotes or coyote hybrids with some kind of mange. Seeing as how all “eye-witness” reports describe the creature the same way--“about the size of a coyote, but hairless”--it should come as a shock to no one that the creature was actually some kind of hairless coyote. But hey, by all accounts Cuero is basically the asshole of Texas. They're probably not known for their deductive reasoning.
These monsters have all been sensational in their own right, but nobody's yet gone after the big game and claimed to have unearthed Nosferatu or ridden a werewolf to work. Nobody, that is, until Matthew Whitton and Rick Dyer: Two Georgia men who claimed to have not only discovered a bigfoot but, in true hillbilly tradition, also immediately shot, killed and stuffed it in a freezer. The two men actually called a press conference to announce the discovery where they basically took photos of themselves poking the corpse with sticks and tried to cobble together enough interest to justify a pay-per-view event of the footage. In a nutshell, they tried to start a makeshift carnival freak show. And it totally worked.The Mystery:
The men not only called the aforementioned press conference, but also issued their own press release, called for DNA samples and hired armed guards to watch the body until it could be authenticated by experts. Now, that's what you call going all in: With a bet that big, if you get called out, you're going to lose everything. This had to have some basis in fact, the world reasoned. After all, if it was all just a scam, why would they demand so much attention and offer so much potential proof? Add to this the fact that these two "hick stereotypes" we were mocking earlier were actually a police officer and a corrections officer. Short of Dr. Science showing up on your doorstep with a live bigfoot and a certificate of authenticity signed by Jesus Christ, there isn't much more you could ask for in terms of proof.
"Forget about game / I spit the truth!" -Dr. ScienceThe Reveal:
Surely a police officer wouldn't throw away his entire career on a sub-par hoax, right? At the very least, this “discovery” is going to be a master-minded con, right? Nope. Turns out that “bigfoot” was really just a cheap Halloween costume the two men bought over the Internet--the most traceable of transaction methods--and stuffed with possum guts then chucked into a freezer. When asked how they thought they were going to fake DNA evidence under intensive public scrutiny, the master magicians shrugged, mumbled something under their breath and only when pressed admitted that they had little to no understanding of what the word DNA meant.
“It's like one of those Jap cars, right?” Offered one con-artist, before jamming his finger so far up his nose it caused a mild seizure.
This bizarre, alien looking creature is the most recent cryptozoological mystery to mindfuck the Internet and not call it the next day. The mystery monster was first sighted in a video taken in the sewers of Raleigh, North Carolina, which appears to show a licker about to drag Gordon Freeman up to the ceiling and digest him.The Mystery:
Workers that had spent years in the Raleigh sewers were at a total loss to identify the creature, stating that it was much too large for a local slime mold, that it was thriving in an otherwise hostile environment and, perhaps most unsettlingly, it's jiggling, slimy mass seemed to grotesquely pulsate when confronted with a light source – much like Rush Limbaugh.
"BLOOORAAARRRGHH! LIGHT BURN!" -Rush LimbaughThe Reveal:
When not digesting Boba Fett over a period of one thousand years, tubifex worms enjoy conglomerating in Raleigh sewers and confusing the hell out of Internet science cowboys. That's right, the so called “sewer creature" was, in fact, just a handful of bait. The worms, in the absence of soil, had coiled around each other, and the pulsating you see is the result of one worm twitching, which in turn caused all of the others to do the same, like a giant game of sub-metropolitan grabass. They're exceedingly rare, these colonies, but experts wanted to assure the public that there was no need for concern: The worms, though odd, are a natural part of life in the sewer.
All part of the circle of life.
Further, the water department assured the public that any water passing by the colony would be thoroughly treated before making its way to your sinks… then they issued a statement retracting their former statement, because the creature was supposedly in a private sewer system. But they quickly reassured the public again that it still posed no danger. The Water Bureau then issued a declaration of “ no-take-backs” and then held a press conference to assure everybody that it was “not un-opposite day.” Long story short, the worms probably pose no threat to anybody, save for disappointing everyone that still wants to believe in magic and monsters. If you're one of those people who do still believe in mystery, you can apparently go fuck yourself straight to Hell.
And when you get there, tell the Devil Science sent you.
For more monster goodness, check out The Real World Fears Behind 8 Popular Movie Monsters and 15 Retarded Dungeons and Dragons Monsters.
You can pre-order Robert's book, Everything is Going to Kill Everybody: The Terrifyingly Real Ways the World Wants You Dead on Amazon, or find him on Twitter, Facebook, and his own site I Fight Robots, because he's just found the first unicorn! You can come over and see it if you like, but it only comes out when you take off your clothes and do a sexy little dance.